february 2021

Updates

FLIR Systems Announces Upgraded FLIR identiFINDER R440, Next-Generation Handheld Radionuclide Identification Device

FLIR Systems Inc. announced the launch of the upgraded FLIR identiFINDER® R440, the next-generation of its field-trusted premium handheld radiation detection system. With improved resolution and sensitivity, the new identiFINDER R440 helps operators identify and respond to radiological threats faster and with greater accuracy.

Updates

NYC Initiatives Are a Model for Safeguarding the Nation’s Public Transit Systems

To bolster the efforts to ensure the continued safety and security of mass transit nationwide, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City (NYC) to study how simulated coronavirus aerosols travel through buses and train cars to inform disinfection and other virus mitigation methods.

Updates

Transitioning From CDC’s Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making (released September 15, 2020) to CDC’s Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools Through Phased Mitigation (released February 12, 2021) to Reduce COVID-19

It is critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible, and remain open, to achieve the benefits of in-person learning and key support services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools to incorporate the best available evidence at this time.

Commentary

Ghosts of Viruses Past

by Catherine L. Feinman -

A decade before COVID-19 emerged as a pandemic, emergency preparedness, response, and resilience professionals were focused on infectious diseases. The H1N1 (swine flu), H5N1 (avian flu), and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreaks were real, and lessons needed to be learned in preparation for something bigger. So, in April 2010, DomPrep polled the experts (i.e., DomPrep advisors and readers) to gather their thoughts on pandemic preparedness and response. A decade later, their responses are haunting.

Commentary

Publisher’s Message: Costs vs. Benefits

by Martin Masiuk -

Over the past 20 plus years, I have been perplexed and bewildered why leaders both in government and industry have not taken preparedness seriously. A while ago, it was explained to me. It all comes down to cost-benefit analysis. Leaders love to present bright, shiny new things to their constituents, shareholders, customers, media, and so on. Let’s face it, preparedness is boring! For example, weatherizing power plants in warm environments is not economical nor exciting. Or is it? By kicking the can, leaders hope that unpleasant, yet predictable once-in-a-hundred-years events do not happen on their watch. Cost-benefit analysis matters a lot when those unforeseen events happen. And these types of events have been occurring more and more frequently lately with great cost through loss of life, sociological-psychological impact, and loss of revenue.

Resilience

Building a Holistic Homeland Security Enterprise System

by Daniel Rector -

In the United States, a diverse group of agencies and organizations work together to accomplish the homeland security mission. Many of these organizations fall within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Organizations that are not directly a part of DHS act as partners and provide support in various ways. One of the most vital and most capable partners in the homeland security mission is the Department of Defense (DOD). The current organizational makeup of DHS is disorganized and confusing. As is, it prevents efficient support from its partners. The government should create a new, robust homeland security enterprise to solve these issues. By creating an updated homeland security enterprise and leaning on the DOD’s support, the nation will increase its security and protect its citizens.

Updates

FDA Authorizes Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment of COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for bamlanivimab and etesevimab administered together for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19.

Updates

S&T Collaborates With Federal Partners to Improve Air Domain Awareness at the Northern Border

With support from Congress, Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has recently begun working with Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations and U.S. Border Patrol, the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration, and other partners and select vendors on an initiative to test and implement state-of-the-art aerial surveillance technologies, sensors, and capabilities at the northern border.

Updates

New Timeline of Deadliest California Wildfire Could Guide Lifesaving Research and Action

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) investigated the conditions leading up to the Camp Fire and meticulously reconstructed the sequence of events describing the first 24 hours of its progression. A new report containing the timeline identifies areas where more research is needed to improve life safety and reduce structural losses. It also offers a detailed look at how a large and deadly fire advances.

Updates

FDA Continues Important Work to Support Medical Product Development to Address New Virus Variants

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has anticipated the possible emergence of coronavirus variants. The FDA has been actively assessing the impact of new strains on authorized products and continues to work with medical product sponsors and international partners to evaluate the impact that each variant may have on effectiveness or utility of authorized medical products.

Preparedness

Viewing the U.S. Election Process as an Essential Mission

by Michael Prasad -

As a critical element of democracy, elections need to be a part of the all-hazards planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercising benefiting from the nation’s emergency management agencies and departments at all levels of government. Election security, capability, and integrity, as well as the ability for citizens to exercise their constitutional rights through democratic processes are essential to the sustained republic.

Updates

DHS Seeks to Improve Communication Between Public Safety Agencies in Joint Emergency Response Scenarios

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency jointly announced today that the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute will spearhead a project to develop interoperability standards for Computer Aided Dispatch systems used by the nation’s public safety agencies.

Updates

New Website Aims to Enhance Disaster Response, Boost Preparedness

The Legal Aid Disaster Resource Center (LADRC.org), a national website helping legal aid and other service organizations more effectively meet the civil legal needs of disaster survivors, has officially launched. The website’s goal is to provide trainings on best practices and resources for pro bono and legal aid attorneys and the communities they serve. It will also encourage relationship building to improve disaster preparedness and response.

Updates

Accelerating the Adoption of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies to Strengthen Our Public Health Infrastructure

The FDA has dedicated significant effort over the past several years to establishing both research and regulatory programs for advanced manufacturing, computational modeling, and other emerging technologies. These efforts have led to updated regulatory processes, guidance documents and dozens of peer-reviewed research publications to identify characteristics of advanced manufacturing processes that can provide regulatory evidence of quality, safety, and efficacy.

Reports

The Apollo Program for Biodefense: Winning the Race Against Biological Threats

The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense’s new report, The Apollo Program for Biodefense: Winning the Race Against Biological Threats details an ambitious program to develop and deploy the technologies needed to defend against all biological threats, empower public health, and prevent pandemics. The Commission argues if the United States acts now, this Apollo Program could effectively end the era of pandemic threats by 2030.

View Full Report
Resilience

Moving on From 2020 – A Future for Emergency Management

by Kyle Overly -

The events that unfolded over the course of 2020 and 2021 challenged emergency managers in ways only previously imagined. In the midst of a global pandemic, emergency managers worked through the complexities of a global response while delivering core administrative functions and coordinating the response to countless other threats and hazards. This response tested emergency management capabilities and challenged long-held assumptions about mutual aid systems.

Updates

New Tools Assist Wildfire Detection and Smoke Forecasting

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had a successful year of research and development in the area of detecting and predicting the impact of wildfires and wildfire smoke, continuing improvement to its Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product. The product provides near real-time maps, fire data statistics, and data sets for monitoring wildfire and smoke positions.

Updates

New Tool Helps Organizations Improve Crisis Communications

When a wildfire, pandemic, or other crises strike, good communication can mean the difference between order and chaos – and, in some cases, life and death. A new tool developed by Sacramento State business professors is designed to help companies, agencies, and nonprofit groups convey information more effectively to their employees, stakeholders, and the public during natural disasters.